Lilia d’Albore (violin)
Violin Recitals in Germany
Hubert Giesen (piano)
rec. 1939-1955
MELOCLASSIC MC2046 [78:32]

Listening to the recent releases from Meloclassic has been a learning-curve for me. I refer to the numerous first encounters with long-forgotten artists. The Italian violinist Lilia d’Albore (1911-1988) is one such. Once again I’m thankful to Michael Waiblinger for his detailed biographical booklet notes.

After early studies at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome with Gioacchino Micheli and Aldo Perini, Lilia d’Albore  went on to perfect her playing with the Hungarian violinist and pedagogue Carl Flesch, between 1929 and 1932. A roll call of famous names were contemporary classmates: Roman Totenberg, Henri Temianka, Anja Ignatius, Ricardo Odnoposoff and Henryk Szeryng. I might also add that there’s some interesting information in the booklet regarding Flesch’s teaching methods. She began concertizing in 1931, and collaborated with some of the most renowned conductors of the day, including Hermann Abendroth, Ataúlfo Argenta , Wilhelm Furtwängler, Carlo Maria Giulini and Carl Schuricht. From 1939 Hubert Geisen became a regular accompanist. He also collaborated with Menuhin, Kreisler, Morini and Adolf Busch. She also forged a working relationship with Deutsce Gramophon/Polydor, yet her discography is scant to say the least. From 1949 she performed in several concerts with Sergiu Celibidache, in addition to being a member of the Trio di Roma between 1959-1964. Strangely she never performed in the UK or North America. She spent many years teaching at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia.

These live airings derive from four recitals taped between 1939 and 1955. All are denoted as radio studio recordings, and each originates from Stuttgart. The Schubert Violin Sonata in D major, often referred to as a sonatina, had been previously recorded by the duo commercially fourteen years earlier in Decmber 1941 for Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft (LM 67847/67848), so they’d obviously grown with it. It sounds very Mozartian, fusing grace, refinement and lyric charm. There’s a pleasing handful of Baroque items, featuring Corelli, Tartini and Vivaldi, repertoire the duo seem very much at home with. They deliver stylish and idiomatic readings, all the better for d’Albore’s imaginative ornamentation.

On 20 November 1953 the duo performed a recital dedicated to Finnish composers. One wonders if this was the sum total of the concert, or whether other works were featured. We open with Sibelius’ classically modeled Sonatina in E major for violin and piano Op 80 from 1915. The composer wrote in his diary in January of that year "Been dreaming about being twelve years old and a virtuoso. The sky of my childhood and stars. Lots of stars." This gives some indication of the general tenor of the work. In three movements, the first makes use of thirds on the violin, set against sparkling cascades on the piano. There’s a childhood innocence about the middle movement, with the finale evoking playful and dance-like elements. I may be mistaken, but I don’t think the Madetoja has been recorded commercially. A pity, as its melodically generous, with each instrument cast on an equal footing. Giesen achieves some lovely bell-like sonorities in the slow movement. The finale is animated and busy, and d’Albore keeps everything lissome and lithe. The Palmgren Romance is another rarity, where the violinist draws a rich sound from the opening G string melody. The rest is ardently etched lyricism.

We also have a small selection of encore-type pieces. I was utterly amazed by d’Albore’s spiccatos in Paganin’s Moto Perpetuo, a performance, speed-wise, that easily rivals that of Heifetz and the young Menuhin. There’s an enchanting Sicilienne by Paradis, with Ravel’s Pièce en forme de Habanera sultry and evocative.

Audio-wise, there’s consistency throughout. This is an artist worthy of your 'ear-time’.

Stephen Greenbank

SCHUBERT: Violin Sonata in D major, D 384
CORELLI: Violin Sonata in D major, Op 5, No 1
Recorded ∙ 26 March 1955 ∙ Stuttgart ∙ Krone ∙ SDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Violin Sonatina in E major, Op 80
MADETOJA: Violin Sonatina, Op 19
Recorded ∙ 20 November 1953 ∙ Stuttgart ∙ Krone ∙ SDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

TARTINI: 7 Variations on a Theme of Corelli (Arr. by H. Giesen)
Recorded ∙ 10 April 1951 ∙ Stuttgart ∙ Studio VI ∙ SDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

VIVALDI: Violin Sonata in D major, RV 10 (Arr. by O. Respighi)
PAGANINI: Moto Perpetuo
FIOCCO: Allegro in G major
PARADIS: Sicilienne
RAVEL: Pièce en forme de Habanera
Recorded ∙ 01 April 1939 ∙ Stuttgart ∙ Senderaum ∙ Reichssender Stuttgart ∙ Radio Studio Recording